The Interpretation of the Being-There of Human Beings [171–172]

The question is, therefore, how πάθος is to be understood more precisely according to its structure. We have to examine it according to the being-determinations of πάθος itself, as Aristotle defines πάθος. Most generally, πάθος is characterized as γινόμενον τῆς ψυχῆς,181 “soul” taken as οὐσία. Μεταβολή and γένεσις are used with the same meaning: πάθος is a “changing,” and accordingly a determinate “coming to be . . .” out of an earlier situation, but not a changing that would have its course set for itself. Rather, it is a mode of finding-oneself in the world that, at the same time, stands in a possible relation to ἕξις. This changing into another frame of mind, and being in the new one vis-à-vis the old one, has in itself the possibility of being-seized, being-overcome. The manner and mode of losing-composure, being-brought-out-of-composure, is, according to its sense, such that it is able to be composed once again. I can regain my composure once again. I am, at a definite moment, in a dangerous situation, in a moment of terror, in a state of composure. I can relate the disposition characterized by terror to a possible being-composed with regard to it. Thus πάθος already has within itself the relation to ἕξις. These two concepts lend themselves to being characterized by Aristotle as fundamental concepts of being. In this way, πάθος is already indicated as a being-concept since πάσχειν, in contrast to ποιεῖν, represents a basic aspect of the analysis of κίνησις, of being in the sense of being-moved. Ἕξις refers back to ἔχειν, “having.” Ἔχειν is recognized by Aristotle as a mode of being, and it is not so puzzling that ἔχειν also appears among Aristotle’s ten categories. It is the being-structure to be set forth in the two salient phenomena, πάθος and ἕξις.

§17. Ἕξις (Metaphysics Δ23 and 20, Nicomachean EthicsΒ 1–5)

a) ἔχειν and ἕξις

We are beginning with ἕξις and ἔχειν. Aristotle treats them in Chapter 23 of Book 5 of the Metaphysics. He says, by way of introduction, that τὸ ἔχειν λέγεται πολλαχῶς,182 that is, the expression in question is addressed to various beings, and with various meanings, such that it is not an arbitrary jumble, but rather relates to a basic meaning, which comes into view by showing the individual meanings. We must see where there is a point of agreement among the manifold meanings of ἔχειν, to what extent ἔχειν expresses being.

1. τὸ ἄγειν κατὰ τὴν αὑτοῦ φύσιν ἢ κατὰ τὴν αὑτοῦ ὁρμήν, διὸ λέγεται πυρετός τε ἔχειν τὸν ἄνθρωπον καὶ οἱ τύραννοι τὰς πόλεις καὶ τὴν ἐσθῆτα οἱ ἀμπεχόμενοι.183 Ἔχειν in the sense of ἄγειν, as “leading the way according

181. Cf. Rhet. Β 4, 1105 b 20.

182. Met. Δ 23, 1023 a 8.

183. Met. Δ 23, 1023 a 8 sqq.

Martin Heidegger (GA 18) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy

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